Friday, March 30, 2007

Financial Accountability: Some Questions to Ask

What kinds of questions should board members ask as part of their ongoing financial accountability responsibilities? Here are some essential discussion focus points to start the process.

How is this action consistent with our mission? Are you using your resources wisely, advancing the mission in the process? As organizational stewards, your primary responsibility is ensuring that all resources are being used toward your purpose.

Are our finances in line with our budget? Overspending is a major accountability red flag. If you see evidence of that in your budget, find out why that is the case. Is it a matter of a budget that needs revision to meet shifting needs, or is there a broader issue of spending controls and priorities?

Are our expenses appropriate in light of donations? If possible, develop a benchmark against similar organizations to gain sense of whether your balance is appropriate.

Do we have the right checks and balances in place? Do our fiscal processes have the right types and levels of controls built in?

Source: 9/02 Board Member special issue

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